Data from the monthly Labour Force Survey are released in two stages. The Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) and Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003) are part of the second release, and include detailed data not contained in the Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) product set, which is released one week earlier.
The Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) is released monthly. Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003) includes data only collected in February, May, August and November (including industry and occupation).
Since these products are based on the same data as the Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) publication, the Labour Force, Australia - Explanatory Notes (cat. no. 6202.0) are relevant to both releases.
For advice on reporting data from our regional labour force products (Pivot tables RM1, RM3 and Tables 16, 16B, 16C), please refer to: Advice on reporting regional labour force data.
ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF THE BUSHFIRES ON LABOUR FORCE STATISTICS
Bushfires resulted in disruption to ABS data collection operations in some regions in New South Wales and Victoria during January 2020.
In New South Wales, some areas within the 'Capital Region', the 'Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven' region and the 'Mid North Coast' region could not be included in the survey for January, accounting for around 3.3% of the total sample in the state. In Victoria, some areas within the 'Latrobe - Gippsland' region were also unable to be surveyed, accounting for around 0.8% of the Victorian sample. As a result, there was slightly higher than usual survey non-response in these areas.
The Labour Force Survey has a robust survey design, with a large sample, a high level of response, and sophisticated weighting and estimation methods. Given the scale of the bushfires, the ABS undertook additional quality assurance of January data, to ascertain whether any additional statistical methods were required to minimise the effect of a higher level of non-response on key headline Labour Force statistics.
The ABS confirmed that the disruption from the bushfires did not have a notable impact on key headline statistics and that no additional statistical interventions were required. A range of estimates were produced, as part of the additional quality assurance undertaken, including using imputation to account for the higher level of non-response. These estimates were highly consistent with the published estimates in this release. For example, the trend and seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Australia, New South Wales and Victoria were the same (to 1 decimal place), as were the size of the movements in these unemployment rates between December 2019 and January 2020.
While no notable impact was observed, it is important to note that changes in Labour Force statistics between December 2019 and January 2020 (particularly changes in hours worked) may still be slightly understated or overstated, relative to what would have been observed if the ABS had been able to collect information from the entire sample. The ABS will undertake further analysis of January 2020 data when February 2020 data has been collected.
Some region level data for New South Wales and Victoria for January 2020 will not be published in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) on the 27th February. The ABS expects to resume publishing these estimates with either the release of February 2020 data (in March) or March 2020 data (in April).
NEW ABS WEBSITE AND AN UPDATED LABOUR FORCE RELEASE
The ABS is planning to launch a new website in June 2020. A Beta version of the new ABS website will be released in March, ahead of an expected switch over at June. The new website aims to provide an improved customer experience through presenting and organising our statistics in a way that is easier to find, understand and use, with improved accessibility, navigation and search features.
As part of this move to a new ABS website, we've been exploring new ways to deliver labour statistics. As advised in the December issue of this publication, a prototype Key labour market indicator page, which aims to draw together data from the range of labour market data sources to provide an overall picture of the labour market, was released at https://beta.abs.gov.au/Key-labour-market-indicators.html.
We have now also developed a prototype for a revised Labour Force publication. This prototype can be viewed at https://beta.abs.gov.au/Labour-force-beta.html. This prototype largely contains the same data as the current version of this release, but it is presented according to the more modern look and feel of the new ABS website design, with the content re-organised to make it easier to read and easier to find.
We welcome any feedback on these Key labour market indicator and Labour Force prototypes. Feedback can be provided via the feedback button at the end of each of the pages, or by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.